Under Hell's Watchful Eye, page 1
Under Hell’s Watchful Eye
Published by Kindra Sowder
Copyright © Kindra Sowder 2015
Cover Art Design © Kindra Sowder 2015
Model © Jessabell Kathrynn
All rights reserved.
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To Jessabell: For your support and love of this story. You are the best inspiration.
I could feel them there. I could smell the perfume of evil that blanketed their skin. I could see them. Their brilliant white eyes and distorted faces. They were all around me, and there was no escape. They were in the crowd of writhing fans, distorting their bodies to the music I had sold my soul to play for them. I wanted the music. The music was mine, but a price had to be paid, and it had been.
My soul and body were trapped in this hell where I was made to sing for demons and all manner of evil things. I wanted the music and I got the music. As I sang for them a song of damnation I couldn’t help but enjoy the fame I had gained, even if the only creatures that would hear me now were the spawn of Satan. But at the same time, I loathed the life I was forced to lead because I made a deal with the devil. I didn’t live a life of luxury I so longed for. Yes, I was given anything I ever wanted now. All I had to do was sing. But this price was no longer worth paying.
I was quickly tiring of singing for this crowd of heathens and I was my only way out. No one else could do it for me, seeing as how I was the only one who could acquire my soul so that I could place it back inside my body. I just had no idea where it was kept. As I continued to belt out lyrics that had them writhing within their own skin from the inside out, I couldn’t help but imagine where my soul was at that very moment. I still wore the scar over my heart as the reminder that I no longer had it in my possession and it was always displayed proudly even though I was no longer proud of what it meant.
I pictured it like a white and sparkling vapor inside of a beautiful glass jar in a large room among millions of others as they all emitted their own light. As I thought of it I could feel a stinging sensation begin in that scar from where it had been removed from my body. Whenever I had thought of retrieving it or just that fact that it was missing that sensation always started there, turning the scar from a pale mass of tissue to a fiery red that couldn’t be missed for miles. It was like a beacon for the soulless.
Looking out into the crowd those distorted faces have become too familiar for my taste, but seeing them dance and grind to the music I sang for them still terrified me despite the familiarity of it all. Their white eyes looked empty and lifeless and, most of all, lost to darkness. The song came to an end and it was time for me to return to the only room I was ever allowed to be in besides this one. As I turned to my band mate all I could see in him was the distorted and empty face that would stare back at me every single time I looked at him. There was nothing there. Not like there used to be.
I couldn’t help but turn away from him as quickly as I had looked at him and made my way to my dressing room where my demonic hair dressers and make-up artists were surely waiting for me. I still remembered what it was like to have my soul even though it had been so long since I had had it. It was warm and comforting, unlike now where I was always cold and unyielding, but I still felt sorrow over what I was missing. I guess that was the point of the scar and the feelings of emptiness that followed its retrieval. The devil really wanted you to realize what you had done and wanted you to miss that part of yourself. That was the true hell. Not the one depicted in the Bible or Dante’s Inferno. It was the feeling of loss and hollowness that you were left with once your soul was gone.
I remembered the exact moment that my soul had been snatched from within me like it was yesterday. I had signed my contract without realizing what I was getting myself into. Without even understanding that my thirst for fame wouldn’t have me up on stage in front of the people I really wanted to entertain with my music, but in front of the demonic hoard that I was forced to amuse because I felt I could sell my soul that was given to me without consequence.
I had just finished signing my contract in my own blood and the devil was before me. He wasn’t what people thought he would be. He was tall, dark and attractive. Beautiful you could say. His features were angular and strong and you couldn’t help but look into his black and hollow eyes and feel something for him. I guess that was part of the allure. Once the signature was on the dotted line and I released my last breath, he reached his cold hand into my chest and an intense light poured from around his fingers as he grabbed my humanity. The feeling of being about so suffocate was overwhelming and as he gripped my soul with all his might the pain had me releasing an involuntary scream. As soon as he pulled his hand back, my soul in his hand and writhing to be free, the pain was gone and the empty feeling had taken its place. I was launched right on stage in front of a crowd of demons who wanted nothing more than to cause strife for what I used to be. Someone with a soul.
I would no longer breathe, no longer sleep, and would no longer feel the need to eat or drink. All I felt was nothing but the sadness and the sheer emptiness of myself. Even though I didn’t have to breathe, the reflex to do so was always one I gave into. It helped me feel somewhat alive. My first night in front of this crowd was the night I realized with terror what I had truly done and that the fame I had truly wanted wasn’t what I was going to get. I sold my soul for the music, and I only had myself to blame. I got what I had wanted. Just not the way I thought I would have it. I pictured a crowed of human beings, their beautiful faces not distorted by the darkness within them and sighed.
No matter where I was I could feel eyes watching over me and while I walked to my dressing room where I had everything I had ever wanted in life those eyes on me made me weary. Always had. As if the torture I was about to face at the hands of the demons that were there to make me look amazing wasn’t enough. The constant washing my face and putting on make-up and pulling at my hair to style it was torture in and of itself. It never stopped and I wasn’t given a single moment to myself. At this point that was what I had craved the most beside my body’s former resident.
The red of the hallway surrounding me was dark and deep, like the blood which no longer flowed through my veins. It now left blackish purple streaks under my skin from where the blood had stopped flowing. My blood was dead and I knew there was a way to restore life to my dead body. I just had no idea how to make it happen. The only way to get my life back that I had tried to make better to provide for the children I wanted was to get my soul back but I had no idea where to even start. How could I get rid of my demonic watchmen? These eyes that I felt were always watching my every move. How did I detach them from myself? My dead and cold body was craving life and this is when I figured out that this was how these demons I played for became what they were. They were always trying to steal the lives of others because the life they had was one they constantly craved and had no way of getting back. This was why they possessed the living. To feel something again. I didn’t want to become like that so getting back my soul was crucial, I just had no idea how
I knew I had sold my soul for this, but was it possible to have this and my soul too? I was beginning to think so. Before now I thought that it would be easy to break into the business and get what I wanted, but when I hit one bump in the road selling my soul to the devil for just one chance was what I decided to do. Now I was stuck here; faceless with no way out of singing to the damned and broken.
I was also getting tired of being down at the bottom of the barrel with the people who love Lady Gaga and Nikki Minaj. This just wasn’t the place to be if you really wanted to live your life without being a drooling and blubbering idiot. That isn’t what I was. I was a fighter and I would fight to get myself back before it was too late. But what if I was already too late? I guess I would have to go as far as I could before I hit a brick wall. I knew I wasn’t going to be able to get information out of anyone so I would have to find my own way.
I made it to my dressing room and the walls mirrored the black darkness of my heart. The lights from the vanity in the dressing room were nearly blinding and I had to shield my eyes from them. I was instantly greeted and surrounded by three blonde women whose eyes were also as dead as I felt; their smiles were crooked and evil like the expressions from the crowd I had just left behind. They grabbed me and sat me down in front of the mirror of the vanity. I was still shocked by what I saw even though this was an occurrence that happened so very often. My eyes looked empty and dead. There was no sparkle to show that there was any kind of life inside of the shell at all and the purple veins underneath my skin looked black in the light, my skin pale in comparison to the dark clothing I was wearing. The black eyeliner and eye shadow almost made my eyes look like they were sinking into my skull, but still managed to look beautiful in a haunting way.
All I wanted to do was push them away and have even just a moment to myself. I was getting tired of always having them around and poking and prodding my face with eyeliner pencils and blushes to try to make me look alive again. It was like that was the allure of my show to them. They wanted to believe I was truly alive just as much as I did, but I was the only one truly hoping for a way to bring myself back to being. I truly wanted to be in the world of the living again like I had never left. I wanted to see the light of the sun and feel its warmth on my skin again. I wanted to feel something besides the emptiness and the darkness that was taking over everything I once was and would become. I was the only one that could make that happen so when I felt the time was right that’s when I would try.
The door to my dressing room opened with a flourish and once I crossed the threshold I was bombarded by three platinum blonde women. They proceeded to usher me onto the stool in front of a black vanity with frozen hands, causing a chill to run up my spine despite the warmth in the room. Once seated I tried so hard to squint past their twisted faces and black eyes to see who they had been before, but found nothing underneath it. Only the evil remained there. Nothing was left of their former selves; not even their faces.
“Jessabell, you’re mascara is running dear! It’s water-proof. Why does this always happen?” The one in the very center lamented. Her name was Georgia and she was the nicest out of the three of them, but also the most annoying.
“I don’t know, Georgia. Maybe because the same rules don’t apply in Hell.” I let the tone of condescension fill the room and I knew she would hear it.
Her high cheeks bones sunk as she pursed her lips at my reply, letting out a low whistle without even realizing it. Her lips were full and painted in red, mirroring the color of the walls, just like the other two at my side. I was already being poked and prodded and, if anything, I wanted a break. Needed a break. Why was it that I could never have one? Oh yes, that was it. The relentless need of the ark souls outside my door for the thrumming of music. Strangely enough they let me have a pet. My black cat Shadow jumped onto the vanity and trilled a greeting, looking at me with wide and expectant green eyes. I picked her up, cuddling her against my chest and rubbing my cheek against hers. Pair of hands wrapped around her midsection and pulled her away, setting her down on the floor behind us. I looked up to see one of my companions standing up and brushing cat fur from her dark clothes.
I didn’t particularly like Rita. Not for any reason really besides the fact she was always taking my cat away from me when I needed her cuddles the most.
“Now, you don’t need cat fur all over your clothes before your next set,” she practically yelled. I sighed in frustration, rolling my eyes as Rita reached over and pinched my cheeks to bring a blush back into them. They wanted me to be life like even though I no longer was. As if the state of my veins didn’t give me away.
“Did they not tell you that I’m done for the night? The boss feels I need a break.”
Anyone who didn’t know already could probably guess who the boss was. Satan, devil, Beelzebub? Whatever you wanted to call him, that was him, and he had stated recently that a break was needed to, “Let your vocal cords rest.” Direct quote.
“Is this true?” Rita asked the other blonde. She had remained nameless. I had never once heard a name uttered in her direction in the two weeks she had been here, and I was betting I never would. She nodded back silently with that distorted face, a frown hiding sharp teeth.
“Then I guess we can leave her be.” Georgia backed away, dropping her hands to her sides with a disappointed look on her face that I almost couldn’t interpret. I could see her in the reflection of the mirror of the vanity, and when they said it was a door to the soul they were right. She was empty and dark, just like I was but I hadn’t had a chance to become what they were. Not even close. They walked out of the room, closing the door with a slam behind them.
The noise startled me, causing me to jump in my seat. Shadow was sitting in front of me, big blinking green eyes looking at me expectantly. I didn’t care what they said about cat fur. I was going to cuddle with her and that was that. I picked her up, rubbing her cheek with mine. Her fur was soft and warm and comforting. It helped take the chill out of my bod y that always took over once a set was finished. I held her close to me and listened to her purr as I did so, feeling it deep within my chest. A knock sounded at the door and with Shadow still in my arms I went to answer it. I place my hand on the knob, my heart pounding as I wondered who could be on the other side. I turned it slowly, feeling the anticipation build as my heart rate accelerated under the weight of anticipation.
I swung the door open, my gaze meeting eyes as dark as only the purest dark could be. There wasn’t even a tiny sparkle of light in them. They were dead eyes and they were staring into me like nothing else existed. The boss was standing on the other side, fingers playing with his goatee. How fitting. Satan wore a goatee, but at least he wore it well. That along with the white suit. I normally found them tacky, but up against his bronze tanned skin it didn’t seem out of place. He always wore some variation of a white suit, but I liked this one the best. It was slim and fit him perfectly, hugging each curve of his muscular form like it should. No one should be attracted to Satan, but sometimes you just couldn’t help it. Would I sell my soul all over again? Absolutely not. Not even for an attractive fallen angel in a nice suit.
“Can I come in, Jessabell?” he asked, dropping his hand to his side.
I backed away from the door, extending my arm out to welcome him into my room and said, “Sure.”
He walked in with a slow sureness, each step emphasized without him having to stomp into my living quarters. He had a commanding presence and he didn’t even have to try. Your eyes just couldn’t help but be drawn to him. His dark hair was only slightly unruly; a few pieces of it hanging down over his forehead, making him look even more highly attractive. To me he looked like an even cross between Hugh Jackman and Ian Somerhalder, the sultry look in his black eyes enough to make a girl’s heart melt. I closed the door behind him and took my spot back on the stool in front of the vanity and only daring to watch him in the mirror as Shadow hissed underneath me.<
I hushed her and said, “Now, Shadow, not in front of company.” I watched him in the mirror as he stood behind me, watching every move I made in return. “What can I do for you, boss?” I figured I may as well ask.
His eyes met mine in our reflections and I looked down at the row of cosmetics in front of me. Olay, L’Oreal, Estee Lauder, and Shiseido lined the base of the mirror. Only the best for their rock star and, because of his connections, they would make any shade I desired or anything for any purpose. He had them all in his back pocket. You wouldn’t think someone like Satan would have cosmetics companies working for him, but money does make the world go round after all. Or was that the root to all evil? I guess we had our answer.
“A little birdie told me something about you today,” he purred. I could feel his eyes on my back as I sat there, staring intently at the cap of a bright red shade of Shiseido lipstick. My eyes shot up to the mirror, eyeing him with the same intensity.
“You know what they say about little birds. What did they say?” I asked. Play it cool. You hadn’t done anything yet. It was just a thought and you can’t get in trouble for thoughts, right? I wanted out, but wouldn’t anyone after so long?
“Well, that you were thinking about trying to leave us, young Jessabell. Now, why would you want to go do a silly thing like that?” He walked towards me with an easy stride. Not like he was threatening me at all.
I turned around, eyes wide in surprise as he knelt down in front of me and took my hand in his, smiling. Only pure evil smiled like that and it sent a chill down my spine as his eyes bored into mine. And I just couldn’t look away. I was frozen to the spot, hand clasped in his, and Shadow beneath me growling like a feral jungle cat. I didn’t even bother to shush her this time.
“You know your soul belongs to me. You signed it away for this life without even a thought, and now you have it. For all eternity with the best you can ever ask for. What is the point in running when I can bring you back here and you will never see your soul again?”